News / Africa

Locally-Produced Fuel at Zimbabwe's Pumps

Fuel blended with 10 percent locally-made and eco-friendly ethanol went on sale in Zimbabwe's capital this week, at a lower cost than fuel that is fully imported.  The project, which is possibly Africa’s largest eco-project to date, has created more jobs in Zimbabwe than any other in the last 20 years.  It was also the brainchild of businessman Billy Rautenbach, who is the target of European Union and U.S. sanctions.

So far 7,000 hectares of sugar cane has been planted in southern and eastern Zimbabwe.  The harvest is being fed into a huge new refinery nearby which produces ethanol.

The plant, run by a company called Green Fuel, is set to pump out about 10 percent of Zimbabwe’s fuel needs within the next few months.

For motorists this is a boon, as fuel blended with ethanol -- now available at some pumps in Harare -- is cheaper than fully imported traditional fuel.

Consumers were filling up this week in Harare. "We have been waiting very much for this kind of product.  Because I travel a lot and at one time I was in Brazil and we have got plenty of land around here so what is important is utilizing the land, we have plenty of land. I [am] very, very happy about tha," one consumer state.

Lilian Muungani, the public relations officer for Green Fuel, said the project began two years ago when private agricultural companies signed a deal with the state land company, the Agriculture Rural Development Authority, to take over and rehabilitate its collapsed sugar cane estates.  In the process, a massive reconstruction and expansion of irrigation systems was undertaken.

The refinery was partly imported from Brazil, with bits of it manufactured in Harare and a team of experts from Brazil and Mauritius overseeing the project.

Green Fuel says it plans to plant and irrigate at least 50,000 hectares of sugar cane to produce two million liters of ethanol a day.

A garage owner in Harare, Norias Chibeke, said people had quickly bought out the first delivery of the blend of unleaded fuel and 10 percent ethanol. "Most of the motorists were eager to know how it works. So they are saying we want to see how it goes.  We received about 10,000 [liters] and we sold it in one-and-a-half days because the price was good for them.  The unleaded we are selling at 1.42 a liter and the blend we are selling at 1.36.”

The company says Billy Rautenbach is the “brains” behind the vast project, which has provided 4,500 jobs so far in a poverty-stricken part of the country.

Rautenbach says he cannot be part of the company because he is on the E.U. and U.S. sanctions lists and any stake he might hold would put the project at risk.

No E.U. or U.S. citizen can trade with about 120 Zimbabweans, mostly top members of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, plus several banks and state mining companies.  The sanctions were originally imposed because of alleged human rights abuses perpetrated by Mugabe supporters during the run-up to the 2002 presidential elections.

Criticism of ZANU-PF increased after the government displaced hundreds of thousands of urban people in Harare in 2005.

Green Fuel says no one has been displaced by this project, which is also supplying irrigation for the first time to peasant farmers working in dry areas around the sugar cane fields.

You May Like

Video 2nd American Reportedly Killed in Syria

Minnesota television report says Abdirahman Muhumed left area to fight for Islamic State militants More

WHO Fears Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People

World Health Organization says outbreak 'continues to accelerate' but that most cases are concentrated in a few local areas More

Angelina Jolie Marries Brad Pitt

Actors wed in small private ceremony Saturday in France More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid